The free insomnia lecture will be held on Tuesday, March 19, at Second Presbyterian Church. | Courtesy of Pixabay and Michael Kay

If you’re plagued by insomnia, an upcoming talk by a Louisville sleep expert may help you get on the road to better sleep.

Ryan Wetzler, director of the Sleep Health Center, will be the featured speaker at a talk on overcoming insomnia without medication. It kicks off at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19, at Second Presbyterian Church, 3701 Old Brownsboro Road.

The free talk by Wetzler, who’s board certified in behavioral sleep medicine and clinical health psychology, is part of the “Building Hope” lecture series sponsored by the University of Louisville Depression Center. It will include information about cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I.

People with insomnia have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or regularly waking up earlier than desired, despite allowing enough time in bed for sleep, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Symptoms may include daytime fatigue or sleepiness; feeling dissatisfied with sleep; having trouble concentrating; feeling depressed, anxious or irritable; and having low motivation or low energy.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia is aimed at helping patients pinpoint and replace thoughts and behaviors that lead to or worsen sleep problems and to adopt habits that promote better sleep, according to a UofL news release.

Many patients with chronic insomnia can be cured in an average of five treatment visits through CBT-I, Wetzler said in the release. The therapy also can help patients get off sleep medications that can affect memory and learning and aren’t meant for longterm use.

The academy suggests avoiding these practices if you’re someone who suffers from sleep problems:

  • Watching cat videos all night.
  • Drinking alcohol or caffeine before bed.
  • Eating a big meal at bedtime.
  • Scrolling through Instagram until the early morning hours.
  • Self-medicating with supplements or medications without consulting your medical provider.

Darla Carter
Darla Carter is a hometown girl who recently joined the staff of Insider Louisville to mostly cover health. She previously served as a longtime health and fitness writer for The Courier-Journal, where she also worked for the Metro, Neighborhoods and Features departments. Prior to that, the award-winning journalist wrote for newspapers elsewhere in Kentucky and Tennessee, covering a range of topics, from education to courts. She's a graduate of Western Kentucky University, where she studied journalism and philosophy, and is the proud mom of two young children.